As night fell over Bliss farm two visitors made their way towards the main gate, guided by a bright star above. They had walked very far and were very tired. They stood at the entrance and waited, quietly and patiently.
‘It won’t be long now Maaary’
‘Oh, I am so tired Chris,’ the other visitor replied, leaning her face a little bit closer to his.
It was late in the year on Bliss farm. The harvest was over, the trees had lost all their leaves and winter had set in. The nights were longer and the weather was bitterly cold.
Henry the horse was on his way to his stable when he saw the couple at the gate. ‘Hello,’ he said. ‘Are you lost?’
‘No, we were on our waaay to the field at the bottom of the hill to be counted. They make all of us sheep do this every year. We followed a bright star and it led us here. We are really tired now and I don’t think weee’ll make it back home tonight. Maaary is expecting a lamb. We’ve tried all of the other farms on the waaaay, none of them have any space for us.’ A tiny tear trickling down his face as he looked at Mary.
Henry was a very kind horse. He could never turn away an animal in distress. ‘Oh friend! You can stay here! There’s only my barn though which you are welcome to share.’ Henry replied
Both sheep looked at Henry and began to sob. ‘Ohhhh, thank you. Thank you so much.’ Henry led them into his warm barn and brought them some straw and fresh water from the trough. Mary and Chris, looking very tired, lay down and went to sleep, thankful that a new friend had helped them.
In the very early hours of the morning before the sun began to rise, something in the barn began to happen.
‘Chris’ whispered Mary. She waited for him to wake for a few moments but he didn’t stir. ‘CHRIS!’ She yelled.
Chris awoke suddenly, opened his eyes and looked at his love. ‘Aaare you OK my dear?’
‘It’s time Chris. Time for our lamb to be born.’
‘Whaaaat? Now?’ he gasped, jumping up off the straw and running around as if he didn’t know what to do with himself. Chris was so excited that he ran into the farmyard and made so much noise bumping into things that he woke rest of the animals.
‘What’s going on?’ clucked Mavis, still half asleep.
‘Maaaary, she’s having aaa little laaamb!’ Chris yelled, unable to control himself.
Mavis gasped. ‘A birth! We’ve not had a birth on this farm for years. Oh my goodness, that’s so brilliant!’ Excitement spread throughout all of the animals as they all waited, anxious about for news of the new arrival and hoping that it made its way safely into the world.
‘Someone should see if Mary needs some help, ‘said Henry. ‘Lucy, could you please?’
Lucy the duck was very excited to be asked and went running into the barn, leaving a hole in the door where she’d forgotten to open it. Chris walked backwards and forwards past the barn door. He was becoming more and more anxious as time passed until he could wait no longer. He was about to open it when the smallest ‘baa’ sound came out of the barn.
Lucy came running out of the hole she had made. ‘It’s a lamb, a little lamb! ‘She screamed. ‘Mary’s had a little lamb and its fleece is white as snow.’ The whole of the farmyard burst into cheer. At that exact moment the church bell in the village began to chime and flakes of snow began to fall from the sky.
‘We should take the new lamb some gifts, it is his or her birthday after all’ said Henry, happily. ‘Holly, Ivy and Noel, can you take some fresh straw, water and food to our guests please? Here’s some blankets to wrap over you, it’s very cold and it‘s starting to snow‘. The three wise pigs did as they were told and took the gifts to the new lamb. ‘Congratulations. You didn’t tell me your names my friend’ Henry said to the Chris.
The sheep turned to him, smiled and replied ‘Maaary, Chris…’ ‘Maaaas’ interrupted a tiny voice.